Spoiler Alert !! There are tons of spoilers for the newest episode of Game of Thrones in here but really at this point how can you can you not be on the Game of Thrones bandwagon by now.
I guess it was somewhat unrealistic for us to expect the show to continue the brilliance of last week’s Loot Train Attack sequence, as HBO did a serviceable job with the follow-up. To be fair there was some awesome dragon fire early on, but it was all downhill from there. We had Dany ruling the boys with an iron fist: Rickon.. I mean Dickon was burning, other dudes were kneeling and Tyrion was worrying. In other news Davos was smuggling, Littlefinger continued creepily smiling for unknown reasons, Sansa and Arya got back on their bickering shit, Jon brooded his way past the Wall, Sam’s balls continued to grow by the second, incest babies are now back in fashion and yes, the white walkers were a-walkin’.
Let’s start with the events up north at Winterfell. First off, Bran is starting to get the hang of this whole Three-Eyed-Raven deal as he warged into a raven to go spy on the Night King and his marching army of the dead. When the Night King scares him out of the raven you almost see emotion and urgency from Bran for the first time this season as he demands Maester Walken send out ravens to notify everyone that that whole zombie army they’ve been waiting for is actually getting pretty close to them so they should really get ready. The only question is, why hasn’t Bran been using his raven-spy powers all season instead of trying to use his abilities to make his sisters uncomfortable all the damn time?
Does anyone else see the irony in showing the northern lords complaining about Jon not being in the north during the episode in which the King returns to the north? Or how the show literally referenced its own sidelining of Jon’s direwolf, Ghost? Where the hell is Ghost guys. Seriously. He’s like a horse-sized wolf by now he’s not just going unnoticed all this time. I love dragons but honestly I think HBO can afford a passing glance of Ghost now and then too. It’s fire AND ice guys, c’mon.
Either way, Arya is not impressed with the northern lords complaining about her favourite sibling (who’s not really a sibling) and even less so with the way Sansa responds to their words. Sansa defends Jon, but she doesn’t betray any feelings of anger about the northerners’ comments that would speak to her loyalty to Jon. Arya picked up on this too. Arya can tell Sansa wants to be Queen in the North even though Sansa says she’s horrible for even thinking that. The most awesome person in Westeros then put her sister right in her place as she slowly stepped up to the towering Sansa with a wild-eyed, Littlefinger-esque grin and nearly whispered to her sister: “You’re thinking it right now.” Maisie Williams has been wonderful in turning Arya into the sly, deadly ‘No One’ that she’s become and is turning into my frontrunner for best antihero in Westeros.
‘But what about Littlefinger?’ What about him? He’s pretty much served his purpose in the show at this point and his scenes in this week’s episode seemed pretty forced. The entire sequence where Arya spies on Littlefinger and finds the scroll Sansa wrote—under Cersei’s watchful eye mind you—to Robb back in the day telling him to bend the knee seemed completely unnecessary other than to give my number one girl Arya some well-deserved screen-time. I don’t really see the point in this subplot to be honest but enough shots of Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger) looking coy/creepy is enough to keep him in the game apparently. I think Lord Petyr had a good run but there are just too many other important characters right now. Let’s get on with it: Arya’s got Needle and she’s got a Valyrian dagger, either one will do just fine poking out Littlefinger’s crusty little eyes.
Let’s get back to that Loot Train Attack though right? Dragons right? So somehow Jaime fell into what looked at first to be a pond but I guess turned out to be a lake and somehow Bronn fished him out and swam him to the other side of the lake completely unencumbered by the fire-breathing 737 that nearly just killed him. To me it’s a huge plot-hole to not have Jaime captured after the way last week’s episode ended. What was the point of his whole brave, war-ending gallop last week if there were no consequences? But I digress.
Jaime’s not being captured gave him the chance to open up this week’s dialogue by telling the guy who just saved his life that he could’ve killed him. How about a thank you next time ya one handed, sister-loving prick. But Bronn’s an even bigger—but a lot more lovable—prick and fires back with some classic Bronn rhetoric. Essentially, Bronn has done so much for Jaime that until he gets paid accordingly, Bronn won’t let the one-handed wonder expire. He also noted to Jaime that “dragons are where [their] partnership ends.” It’s really nice to have Bronn back with some comedic relief since Tyrion has essentially abandoned his post as chief Westeros funny man.
Unfortunately Bronn wasn’t in any scenes over in King’s Landing. The two scenes essentially consisted of Cersei scolding Jaime for losing a battle, being scared of dragons, being scared of Dothraki, not killing Olenna Tyrell hard enough and meeting with his own brother behind her back. Oh yeah, and she’s apparently pregnant. When you think your brother’s having second thoughts about your Westerosi conquest you tell him you’re pregnant, that’ll get him back on your side right. Yay, incest!
Instead of cracking jokes however, the youngest Lannister has been dishing out shitty war advice and trying to one-up Jon Snow every chance he gets in their personal little ‘who brooded best’ competition. Jon’s gonna win that one every time Tyrion, so you should probably think of returning to comedy and drinking.
As he walks through what looks like a giant fireplace perhaps Tyrion is realizing that maybe dragons might be worse than his sister?! Is that possible? Maybe. But where do he and Varys get off thinking Dany needs to listen more to the Imp? He’s the one that got them into this mess with his terrible military strategy. Maybe it’s time Dany made some of her own decisions.
After Daenerys gives an amalgamation of all of her previous speeches—including a reference to her classic ‘break the wheel‘ ditty—she gives the surviving soldiers a choice: follow me, or die. Some choose to bend the knee and a lot more join them after a quick little reminder from Drogon that hey, he’s a dragon. Though they turned out to be kind of pointless characters in the end, you’ve gotta hand it to Randyll and Dickon Tarly: it takes really, really big balls to choose your honour (whatever that means) even in the face of a fate such as getting burned alive by a fucking dragon. Solid exit Tarlys, solid exit. Though I will miss the Dickon jokes.
Many fans and bloggers have cited this as a reason they stopped supporting Dany or as a reason she’s like her father, even going so far as to compare this to what the Mad King did to Ned’s father and brother way back when. First of all, Ned’s father and brother did not take up arms against the Mad King as the Tarlys did, and the Starks were not given a choice in their fate in the end. This is nothing close to that. What other lord does not demand allegiance from the stragglers of the side who lost the battle? This is commonplace in war: if you refuse to join my side because of your silly honour, you will die. The fact that it’s a dragon and not a sword is what makes everyone so scared of Dany. The scare factor is one of Dany’s greatest advantages though, so why not use it? She is definitely not to be feared like her father was.
A little more ‘Mad’ right?
The supposed ‘Mad Queen’—honestly how is that moniker not bestowed on Cersei yet?—is a glass case of emotions for the rest of the episode, showing that her harsh battle persona is not her entire persona. Immediately upon her return she observes a poignant moment between Jon Snow and Drogon. The dragon allows Jon to touch his face and pet him—proving in yet another way his Targaryen-ness—much like Tyrion did to the other two back in Meereen. Dany looked on in pleasant surprise or straight up arousal. I honestly couldn’t tell.
After Dany gets way too offended by an offhand remark Jon makes about her dragons not being beautiful we get the first of about 27 reunions in this episode. Jorah Mormont has finally returned to his beloved queen right in time to interrupt Dany and Jon’s most interesting conversation of the season, you know, the whole ‘did you die and come back to life’ one. Dany actually seemed happier than I was expecting to see Jorah but hey, sometimes you gotta toss the guy a bone. Isn’t it funny though, that Daenerys just got done burning Samwell’s father alive only to be reunited with an old friend who was only able to return to her by the grace of Samwell’s mad skills. I love those little family connections.
Speaking of Sam, the kid is absolutely fed up with the Citadel. These old crusty white guys make him clean shit, sort books and do all this other menial crap, meanwhile he’s seen the white walkers and cured fucking greyscale! Give the kid some credit would ya Marwyn.. But nah, it’s too late, Sam’s sick of your shit and has decided to take his family and his talents to South Beach.. or wherever he’s headed. Probably north.
But he’s not going anywhere until his barely literate girlfriend can drop the biggest truth-bomb—about Sam’s BFF Jon—this show has ever seen, only for Sam to completely miss it. Sam seemed so uninterested by the tome that pretty much proved Jon Snow is the true-born heir of Rhaegar Targaryen that I’m not even sure he’ll stumble on it again for himself later on. Will it be Bran or Sam that tells Jon he’s supposed to be King in the Westeros not just King in the North?
Bran hasn’t been able to tell Jon of his true lineage yet but he did send him a message about the Night King and his army. When Bran’s raven finally arrives to Jon the news is so bad that the fact that two of his supposedly dead siblings are indeed alive is nothing but a footnote: the Night King is marching on Eastwatch, and Jon needs to go home to fight. Daenerys won’t join him but thanks to another masterful piece of military maneuvering by Tyrion, Ser Jorah will join him up north to fulfill ‘the plan’. And here is Tyrion’s plan.
Tyrion will take the completely unnecessary risk of sneaking into King’s Landing to ask Jaime to tell Cersei about the army of the dead. Jon and Jorah will head north and lead a ranging north of the Wall to find a white walker or a wight and capture it. Then they will come all the way back down south to meet with Cersei.. show her the real threat.. and convince her to help up north as well? I guess?
I honestly don’t think anyone could’ve come up with a more worthless, unnecessary and overall stupid way to convince an unconvinceable Cersei that the real threat to her power is an army of dead people. First off, Cersei will kill them at that meeting, secondly, she can just look at a wight and say its sick or deformed instead of undead and thirdly, if she does believe it, she probably thinks the army of the dead is a blessed distraction that has come to help her stay seated on that pesky Iron Throne for as long as humanly possible.
So overall, terrible plan, but no one on the show seems to think so because they’re already setting it into motion. First, Tyrion is smuggled into King’s Landing to have a secret meeting with Jaime where he rationalizes killing his dick father and apparently convinces Jaime of the existence of the army of the dead. What a dud of a reunion that was. I think the show made the trip to King’s Landing mainly for another reason though.
While Tyrion has his meeting in the dragon-skull lair, Davos heads to his old stomping grounds in Flea Bottom to find a long lost friend: Gendry. Remember Gendry? Robert Baratheon’s bastard, friends with Arya, sold by the Brotherhood without Banners to Melisandre and ultimately saved by Davos from Melisandre and never to be seen again? Well he’s back and he’s got himself a buzzcut. Not only that, but—and this was one of my favorite reveals of the season—he’s quite handy with a warhammer, just like his father. (Side note: Robert actually killed Daenerys’ brother and Jon’s father, Rhaegar, with a blow to the chest from his warhammer. Food for thought.)
Gendry is definitely not ‘still rowing’ as Davos quips, and his reaction when Davos asks him to come to Dragonstone was classic. Absolutely no convincing needed, for once. They then return to their little boat on a secret beach where Davos pays off some city watchmen and gives them a little boost to their libido in the form of fermented crab. Davos seems like he’s handled the situation flawlessly.. until Tyrion shows up. He really can’t do anything right this season, can he. To be fair, his appearance did give us all a chance to see Gendry in action with that hammer. And boy, was it awesome. We never got to see Robert Baratheon—supposedly the finest warrior of his day—do any fighting because of how fat he’d gotten. I think the show is giving us a little taste of what that might’ve looked like. Thank you.
Davos tells Gendry to keep his identity a secret but in another Robert-esque move the royal bastard tells Jon Snow straight up who he is right when he meets him. He even gives us all a treat in whisking us back to the good ol’ days when Ned and Robert were both still alive, though these bastards are ‘leaner’ and ‘shorter’ than their supposed fathers. Gendry is the first addition to Jon and Jorah’s ragtag band of rangers much to Davos’ dismay: “Oh yeah don’t mind me, all I’ve ever done is live to a ripe old age.” Considering most of the main players in this game of thrones have been about 20 years old or less, maybe someone ought to listen to old Dave one of these days.
Yet another reunion occurs as the lads set sail north, this time between Jorah and Tyrion who you might’ve forgotten, were slaves together back in Meereen. Good times amiright. Dany then gives Jorah a sweet sendoff before begrudgingly allowing Jon to leave as well even though they haven’t made out yet. Seriously, watch when he first says he’s leaving in the Room of the Painted Table, she seemed like she was about to burst into dragon tears right then and there. Jaime and Cersei aren’t the only ones that can do incest okay guys. Jon and Dany will meet again, and it’ll be sweet dragon love-making— probably in a cave—when they do.
There’s no time to waste though so we fast forward to when Jon actually arrives in the North to recruit the Magnificent Seven for his quest beyond the wall. (Side Note: Do you think Jon brought any dragonglass weapons up north with him?) As Tormund Giantsbane—a very warm welcome back to that beauty—so eloquently puts it, this ranging is “a stupid fucking idea.” Yes Tormund, yes it is. But fuck it, he says, if Jon’s down, I’m down. Now we’ve got four, since Davos has made it abundantly clear that he’s not a fighter.
Who better to fill out the roster than the jolly old Brotherhood without Banners? Which is now down to a measly three men. Before they’re added to the starting lineup however a few reunions are in order: Jon recognizes the Hound, Jorah recognizes his old pal in arms, Thoros, Tormund doesn’t like Jorah now because he’s a Mormont and Gendry hates them all because you know, they sold him. Thanks to the Hound all of that reunion shit comes to a halt and him, Beric and Thoros are added to the Magnificent Seven team since they’re all on the same side because, as Jon puts it: “we’re all breathing.” Yeah, that’s fair enough I think.
I don’t think I’ve been more excited for an episode than I am for next week’s ranging beyond the wall. Not only are we gonna see some gnarly zombie action, but the Magnificent Seven are made up of seven of the best and most intriguing characters on the show. The sad fact of that matter is that one or, more likely, several of the Seven will probably die next week north of the Wall. Nonetheless, if you’re not excited for the Magnificent Seven’s Ranging Beyond the Wall next week, I don’t know why you’re reading this.